Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Saturday the company will file a lawsuit against Alameda County and threatened to move its headquarters and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately, escalating a fight between the company and health officials over whether its factory in Fremont can reopen.
Tesla had planned to bring back about 30% of its factory workers Friday as part of its reopening plan, defying Alameda County’s stay-at-home order.
TechCrunch has reached out to Elon Musk directly. We will update the story if he responds.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued new guidance Thursday that allowed manufacturers to resume operations. The guidance won praise from Musk, who later sent an internal email to employees about plans to reopen based on the governor’s revised order. However, the governor’s guidance included a warning that local governments could keep more restrictive rules in place. Alameda County, along with several other Bay Area counties and cities, last week extended the stay-at-home orders through the end of May. The orders were revised and did ease some of the restrictions. However, it did not lift the order for manufacturing.
On Friday, the Alameda County Health Department said Tesla had not been given “the green light” to reopen and said if the company did, it would be out of compliance with the order.
In the tweet, Musk said Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. In a later tweet, he also encouraged shareholders to file a lawsuit against the county.
“The unelected & ignorant “Interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President and our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!,” the tweet said. He followed up with another tweet claiming that Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately.
“If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA,” Musk wrote.
Tesla has operations in Nevada; it doesn’t in Texas. The company’s massive battery factory – known as Gigafactory 1 — is located in Sparks, Nevada. Tesla is seeking out a new location to build a new U.S. gigafactory that will produce the Cybertruck and Model Y crossover. Some have speculated that Texas is a top pick.
Sources have told TechCrunch that Tesla is in talks with Nashville officials to locate a factory there that will produce the Cybertruck and Model Y crossover.
“Scouting locations for Cybertruck Gigafactory. Will be central USA,” Musk tweeted in March. He added that the factory would be used to produce Model Y crossovers for the East Coast market. The first Model Y vehicles are being produced at its plant in Fremont.